Risk Factors for Depression in the Emerging Adulthood

Sándor Lisznyai, Katalin Vida, Marietta Németh, Zsolt Benczúr


Emerging adulthood is a period from the late teens through the twenties, when individuals are faced with more transitions and life-decisions than at any other stage of life. For the majority, psychological well-being is improved in this period, but for a significant number of individuals these challenges and contingencies entail many controversies, which in turn can lead to depression or anxiety. This paper focuses on the background of, and risk factors behind, high level depression among university students, who are typically in this life stage, in order to identify the typical client characteristics of a university counselling centre. 773 university students completed an online survey measuring depression symptoms, socioeconomic status, distal and proximal social capital, bullying, substance abuse and indirect aspects of mental health as mediate variables. 13.6% of the participants reported moderate or major depression symptoms. Using hierarchical multiple regression, male gender and poor financial situation were found to predict higher depression. After controlling for the effects of background variables, social capital factors, identity status and life skills made a significant contribution to the prediction of lower depression. This supports the idea of the importance of social skills in enabling the individual to create their own social circle and joining the community of young people at the university.


depression; emerging adulthood; social capital; counselling client profile